Monday, 16 December 2013

RIP Joan Fontaine

I must admit I was naturally a bit floored to learn of O'Toole's passing yesterday, so I just switched off a bit. As a result I've actually only just found out that we also lost Joan Fontaine too at the grand old age of 96.

Whenever i think of Joan Fountaine I think particularly of three movies;

The Hammer classic The Witches - her last big screen role from 1966, in which she played a former missionary who had suffered a breakdown from witchcraft in Africa, only to take up work as schoolteacher in rural England and uncover a coven there too!

Gunga Din - the riproaring Boy's Own adventure from 1939 in which she played the woman threatening to separate co-star Douglas Fairbanks Jr from his brothers in arms Cary Grant and Victor McLaglen.

And lastly of course, Rebecca - Hitchcock's 1940 classic, an adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's novel, where she played the haunted and taunted new bride of Laurence Olivier's; the second Mrs de Winter.

Fontaine was the sister of fellow actress Olivia de Havilland, with whom she had an estranged relationship, the result of a fierce sibling rivalry. In a 1978 interview, Fontaine was quoted as remarking "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid that I beat her to it!" 

Sadly, she got that wish yesterday.


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